OPM builds multiagency training site

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Learning to share

The desire to get more mileage out of e-learning content is not confined by the walls of one agency or department. The Office of Personnel Management leads a project under the

e-Training initiative, which is part of the President's Management Agenda. The project involves pooling content from multiple agencies and making it available governmentwide.

The Gov Online Learning Center, also called GoLearn, is a governmentwide e-Training program that offers online programs, tools and services to federal employees via the GoLearn.gov Web site.

OPM officials have helped about 40 agencies integrate custom e-learning content on the GoLearn platform and negotiate contracts with vendors on behalf of agencies, among other services.

In deploying an e-learning solution, agency managers can discover what specific enterprisewide content they have on a common e-learning system, said Jeff Pon, acting project manager for the e-Training initiative at OPM. "That empowers the organization to make better decisions about training," he said.

As part of the assessment process and before integration, OPM officials help agencies take inventory of their custom content. Then, agency managers decide what to keep, tweak, retire or buy.

For example, agencies are updating custom content by using internal or commercial-off-the-shelf software products that adhere to accepted standards or employ a wrapper. Agencies will transfer their solutions to a common enterprise IT architecture, but they don't have to throw away their e-learning investments overnight. Workarounds will suffice in the short term, but eventually, agency leaders will have to choose products and vendors approved by the e-Training initiative's governance council.

Off-the-shelf content that supports one of the leading e-learning standards works relatively easily with GoLearn right out of the box, Pon said. OPM requires content vendors to support the standards.

The agency also requires that the learning management system meet the requirements of the federal enterprise architecture and the data reference model so that solutions can be integrated and information shared across agencies, he said.

"There is a lot of duplication going on, not just from an IT perspective, but from a content perspective," Pon said. The e-Training initiative will help ensure that e-learning content is "built once and shared across government, when appropriate."

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